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NIU at Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Homepage: Click to visit
Budget Sheets Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Biology, English, Political Science Program Type: Faculty Directed
Class Eligibility: Graduate Student, Junior, Senior, Sophomore, Student At Large Housing Options: Dormitory
Language of Instruction: English Program Provider: NIU Faculty
Program Description:

NIU at Oxford



Program Director(s):
Dr. Gabriel Holbrook, Dr. Nicole Clifton, Dr. Artemus Ward, Dr. William Johnson

Program Overview

This will be the 45th annual summer program offered by Northern Illinois University and Oriel College featuring courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels that are designed to take advantage of the unique resources of the British setting, including the Oxford libraries, theaters of London and Stratford-upon-Avon, and selected cultural, historical and scientific field trip sites.  Faculty are accommodated close to students and dine in the same halls so that formal class meetings can be supplemented by individual tutorials and informal conversations.  Enrollment in all courses is deliberately kept low in order to permit maximum interaction between students and faculty.

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Course Offerings

Dr.  Gabriel  Holbrook (Biological Sciences, NIU) serves as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Coordinator for the Program.  He has a primary research interest in plant physiology and has published numerous research articles on photosynthesis by plants, algae, and bacteria.

Exploration of Plant Science
These courses will be taught by Professor Holbrook of NIU.  BIOS 101 is an introductory plant biology course suitable for students majoring in subjects other than biological sciences.  All courses take advantage of the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens, which are a short distance from Oriel College.  BIOS 305 will explore the basic anatomy, morphology and physiology of plants.  These will be related to an evolutionary sequence, considering the selective advantage of structures and functions unique to each group of plants in adapting to their habitats.  In BIOS 411/511, which can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit, detailed attention will be given to the physical and chemical aspects of the “inner workings” of terrestrial and aquatic plants.  The courses may also feature guest lectures on selected topics by members of the Oxford University Plant Science Department.  Related field trips may include visits to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, to the marine environments of the southwest coast of England, and to one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world, Rothamsted Research located to the north of London.

BIOS 101   Plant Products and Human Affairs  3 semester hours - UG

Description: Includes basic botany and the geographic origins of economically important plans which produce products used by various peoples worldwide. Emphasis on plant products having an influence on societies (cereal crops, medicines, drugs, etc.)  Not open for credit toward the major in biological sciences.

BIOS 305   Biology of Land Plants   4 semester hours - UG

Description:  Land plants studied in an evolutionary sequence.  Basic anatomy, morphology, and physiology.  Emphasis on the probable selective advantage of structures unique to each group of plants.
Prerequisites: BIOS 208, BIOS 209, BIOS 210, and BIOS 211.*

BIOS 411/511    Plant Physiology  4 semester hours - UG or GR

Description:  Physical and chemical aspects of the functions of higher plants.
Undergraduate Prerequisites:  BIOS 208, BIOS 209, BIOS 210, and BIOS 211.*

BIOS 493A   Topics in Biology: Physiology  3 semester hours - UG

Description:  Lectures, discussions, and reports on topics of special interest in a particular field of biology.  Topics may be selected in one or more fields of biology to a total of 6 semester hours toward any one degree.
Prerequisite:   Consent of department.*

BIOS 616   Plant Metabolism 3 semester hours - GR
Description: Biochemical and physiological aspects of metabolism in plants, including interpretation of current scientific literature.

*Biological Science course prerequisite requirements should be discussed with Professor Holbrook.  After consultation with Professor Holbrook and approval of the department chair (see Course Preference Form), some or all prerequisites may be waived.

Dr. L. G. Black (English, D. Phil. Oxford University) is a Fellow of Oriel College.  His special research interests are Shakespeare and the English Renaissance.  He is the Editor of Notes & Queries (founded 1849).  Dr. Black will participate in classroom discussions and tutorials with NIU students attending the Oxford program.

Dr. William C. Johnson is NIU Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, where he taught Renaissance drama, poetry, and prose for over four decades.  He has published extensively in the field of English and Continental Renaissance literature and history, has led many academic study trips to Oxford, other parts of England, and the Continent. He also is Executive Director of Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society.

For students of English literature, Shakespeare’s name will head any list of major authors. And what better place to study this writer—both as the author of texts and of scripts—than in England? Our goal in the summer 2014 Shakespeare classes will be to explore the range of literary, cultural, historical and textual contexts that inform Shakespeare’s plays. We’ll do this by reading, and then seeing, selected plays, taking advantage of the rich theatrical interpretations available in performances in Stratford-on-Avon, London, and Oxford. We’ll focus our attention on the tension between passion and reason, the individual and the community, and the ways in which those tensions defined and helped to refine Shakespeare’s England.  The plays will be selected on the basis of what actually is being performed and available to us for viewing; thus students will have the opportunity to experience the plays they are studying.  Individual programs of study will be set in consultation with individual students, depending on the course levels selected.
ENGL 315   Shakespeare  3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Representative plays.  Intended to prepare the general student to read and view the plays independently.  Not available for credit in the major.

ENGL 407   Shakespeare   3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Representative comedies, tragedies, and historical plays.  Attention given to Shakespeare’s growth as a literary artist and to the factors which contributed to that development; his work evaluated in terms of its significance for modern times.

ENGL 641   Shakespeare 3 semester hours - GR
Description: Survey of representative comedies, histories, and tragedies, with special attention to Shakespeare’s development as a playwright.

ENGL 741   Seminar: Shakespeare 3 semester hours - GR
May be repeated to a maximum of 9 semester hours when topic varies.


Dr. Nicole Clifton (English, NIU) teaches courses on Chaucer and other Middle English literature and language.  Her scholarly research focuses on medieval romances and their manuscripts. 

The Medieval English City:
What was it like to live in the Middle Ages?  How did the physical environment affect people’s ideas about where they belonged?  Medieval Oxford and London are important settings for our readings, which focus on ideas about community in medieval English cities. Brief selections cover a wide variety of medieval genres; works will include excerpts from Langland’s Piers Plowman and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as well as Saint Erkenwald and Sir Lanval. Most texts date to the late fourteenth century, around the time of the 1381 Rebellion, when farmers, craftsmen, artisans, and minor gentry violently protested rising taxes.  In these conditions, city-dwellers had to weigh their loyalties very carefully, and consider their ties to different communities, whether personal, professional, or geographical, as we will see in our readings. 
ENGL 110   Experience of Fiction   3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Close reading for the appreciation of fiction as an embodiment of human and cultural values. Not available for credit to students with credit in ENGL 202. 

ENGL 298   Topics in Literature   3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Exploration of a literary subject ordinarily outside the scope of traditional courses in literature.

ENGL 400   Literary Topics     3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Topics announced. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours when topic varies.  Summer 2014 topic:  medieval literature, in translation or in Middle English, set in the late fourteenth century, in medieval English cities.

ENGL 405   Early English Literature 3 semester hours - UG
Description: English literature to 1500.  Modernized texts used for works which might otherwise present language problems. 

ENGL 635   Medieval English Literature  3 semester hours - GR
Description:  Studies in important Middle English works (AD 1100-1500). May include prose, romance, lyric, religious allegory, and/or drama.

ENGL 736   Seminar:  Medieval Literature 3 semester hours - GR
Description:  May be repeated to a maximum of 9 semester hours when topic varies.


Dr. Artemus Ward (Political Science, NIU) teaches courses at the intersection of politics and popular culture, public law, and American government. He has published a number of articles and books on the U.S. Supreme Court. Contact Professor Ward at for information.

This course focuses on how the music of the Beatles affected, and continues to affect, the political and cultural landscape. Broadly, we will examine how music and musicians confront political and social issues such as war, race relations, and gender discrimination. The Beatles provide an important case study in this phenomenon. John Lennon’s political activism—as demonstrated by such songs as “Revolution,” “War is Over (If you Want It),” “Give Peace a Chance,” and “Imagine”—continue to have influence over policy makers and the public at large. President Nixon’s secret investigation of Lennon and his attempts to deport Lennon from the U.S. during the 1972 presidential campaign show how musicians can affect the highest levels of government. Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” and Lennon’s “Woman is the Nigger of the World” exemplify how musicians can affect civil rights. George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh was the first benefit concert to aid disadvantaged populations, paving the way for Live Aid, USA for Africa, and other mass fundraising efforts led by musicians. Accordingly, we will supplement Oxford seminars with field trips to Beatles sites in London, Liverpool, and Hamburg Germany where students will give presentations on research topics related to the course.
POLS 395   Contemporary Topics in Political Science   3 semester hours – UG
Description:  Description: Selected topics in the analysis and evaluation of political phenomena in a variety of settings. Topics vary each semester. May be taken a total of three times as topic changes. Enrollment in multiple sections of POLS 395 in a semester is permitted.
Recommended:  At least sophomore standing.

POLS 414   Topics in Law and Social Problems  3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Examination and analysis of the enduring questions of importance for the legal system. Problems illustrating the intersection of law, morality, and politics are set in the context of contemporary issues. Specific focus of the course changes each semester. May be repeated once as topic changes.

POLS 495   Seminar in Current Problems   3 semester hours - UG
Description:  Contemporary issues and policies in government and politics. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours.
Recommended:  At least sophomore standing.

POLS 496  Independent Study in Political Science    3 semester hours - UG
Description: Special readings and topics in political science. Open only to junior and senior majors in political science with a GPA of 3.00 or above and 12 semester hours in political science. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours.
Prerequisite: Consent of department.

POLS 498  Seminar Abroad    3 semester hours - UG
Description:  A study abroad course to be arranged with the department.

POLS 595  Seminar in Current Problems 3 semester hours - GR
Description:  Contemporary issues and policies in government and politics. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 semester hours.

POLS 696  Independent Study in Political Science 3 semester hours - GR
Description:  Open to qualified master’s students who wish to do individual advanced work in political science. May be repeated to a maximum of 9 semester hours.

POLS 798   Foreign Study and Internship   3 semester hours - GR
Description:  Individual research, study, and work abroad.

*Political Science course recommendations should be discussed with Professor Ward. 


Qualified students may also elect to receive Honors credit for any course(s).  For more information please contact the University Honors Office.

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Student Life

Classes will meet at hours to be announced (typically, two 2-hour sessions a week for undergraduates with additional conferences for graduate students) Mondays through Thursdays, leaving three-day weekends for study or travel.

Students will reside in modern single rooms in Oriel College’s James Mellon Hall. Breakfast will be served daily and dinner will be served each Sunday through Wednesday in the 17th-century Hall.  Students will be responsible for the purchase of all lunches, as well as dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Students will have access to the College Library and other Oxford libraries.  The college has a laundry room, and dry cleaning is available nearby.

The program cost includes one trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with tickets to a Royal Shakespeare Company performance, and other trips to sites of academic interest, to be announced.  Optional trips, at the students’ expense, will also be offered, and students will be encouraged to travel on their own.

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Application Information

Click NIU at Oxford or visit the NIU Study Abroad Office website at (and search for "Oxford" or the "NIU at Oxford" program) to begin the online application process for this program. The online process provides guidance on requesting information, advising or applying for the program. Please note that at the time of the application, applicants will be expected to submit a signature verification form and copy of their ID to the Study Abroad Office. More detailed instructions can be found on the website or by contacting the Study Abroad Office at (815) 753-0700 or

$200 Application Fee/Deposit:

A $200 application fee/deposit is required of all applicants.  The $200 is broken down into $100 for the non-refundable application fee and $100 for a program deposit.  Both the application fee and the deposit will be applied to the total balance of the program cost.  The $100 deposit is refundable only if the participant withdraws prior to the withdrawal deadline indicated on the program materials or for medical reasons verified by a physician if the withdrawal takes place after the withdrawal deadline. 

The $200 application fee/deposit will be charged to NIU students' NIU Bursar's account.  (Checks and money orders cannot be accepted from NIU students.)  Non-NIU students must submit a check or money order in the amount of $200.  More detailed instructions can be found on the website.
IMPORTANT - All applications will be categorized as "Pending - No Deposit" until the $200 application fee/deposit has been received (or, in the case of non-NIU students, once a check has been received).  The Study Abroad Office will not consider or process applications without the $200 application fee/deposit.  In order to reserve your place in the program you must submit the $200 deposit within 14 days of application.  After 14 days applications without a deposit will be inactivated. 

Application dead line: April 15, 2014
It should be noted that space in the program is limited, so early application is recommended. Qualified applicants will be accepted on a first-come-first- serve basis.

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The program is open to individuals who have an interest in the areas of Biology, English, and Political Science.  Currently enrolled students must meet NIU Office of Admissions, Graduate School and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GPA requirements.  Students on academic probation during the semester prior to the program are not eligible for participation in this program.  Applicants must participate in the entire length of the program and satisfy NIU undergraduate or graduate admission and course requirements.

Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time of application.  Students who are on academic or disciplinary probation are not eligible to participate in study abroad programs.  Applicants must participate in the entire program and satisfy NIU undergraduate or graduate admission and course requirements.  
NIU students participating in the program cannot have any encumbrances against their NIU records.  Any encumbrances placed on a student’s records by NIU (i.e., the Graduate School, Undergraduate Admissions, Bursar’s Office, Accounts Receivable, Registration and Records, Health Services, Parking Services, etc.) must be cleared before a student is granted admission to a study abroad program.
For undergraduate students to be admitted to the program, an applicant’s official transcript must be on file in the NIU Study Abroad Office (SAO).  Students who are currently enrolled at NIU, or who have previously enrolled at NIU, do not need to request an official transcript; the Study Abroad Office will make this request on behalf of the applicant.  Students who want to participate in the program and earn academic credit from NIU who have not previously enrolled at NIU, or who are not currently enrolled at NIU, should ask the Registrar at their institution to forward an official transcript as soon as possible to the Study Abroad Office.  (Student-issued transcripts and photocopies are not acceptable.)  Questions relating to the admission requirements or transcripts should be directed to the Study Abroad Office.  
Students who desire to obtain graduate credit must either be admitted to a graduate program within the NIU Graduate School, or be admitted to the status of a "student-at-large" (SAL) within NIU's Graduate School.  For students to be admitted to the program for graduate credit, the applicant's official transcript must be on file in the NIU SAO.  Students who are currently enrolled at NIU, or who have previously enrolled at NIU, do not need to request an official transcript.  However, students who will participate in the program in order to earn academic credit as an SAL (students who have not currently enrolled, nor are previously enrolled at NIU) must provide a transcript from the baccalaureate institution and from any institution at which graduate credit has been earned.  This document must be provided to the SAO before a student can be admitted as an SAL to the program.  (Student issued transcripts and photocopies are not acceptable.)

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Program Fees

NIU PROGRAM COST:  The program cost pays for the following cost-related services:
    1)    Housing, breakfast seven days a week, and dinner Sunday through Wednesday in the College Dining Hall
    2)    Use of an Oriel College Common Room and the College Library
    3)    Two program-related field trips
    4)     NIU tuition for 3-9 semester hours of undergraduate or graduate credit
    5)    NIU major medical insurance
    Program Cost:  $6,550
All prices quoted are subject to change.  The information contained in the program documents and forms is presented in good faith and is believed to be correct as of the date presented.  Northern Illinois University reserves the right to amend, modify, revise, or delete any information appearing in these documents, including but not limited to the cost of the program.    
Non-NIU students should consult with their home institutions regarding additional costs that may apply to study abroad.  Non-NIU students are responsible for any study abroad charges imposed by their home institution.
  •     Cost of acquiring an American passport (approximately $135 including two passport pictures)
  •     Roundtrip airfare between the U.S. and London
  •     Transportation from Heathrow or Gatwick Airports to Oxford
  •     Meals not provided as part of the NIU program package
  •     $40 Undergraduate application (Non-NIU undergraduate students only)
  •     Textbooks
  •     Theatre tickets (beyond one field trip to Stratford)
  •     Purchases of a personal nature
  •     Independent travel

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Financial Aid

As a participant in a study abroad program through NIU, you may be eligible for: Pell Grant, SEOG, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loan, Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, MAP Award or your privately awarded scholarship with consent of awarding organization. Tuition waivers do not apply. Please contact Pamela Rosenberg, the International Programs business manager, in Williston Hall 408, (815) 753-9530, for more information.

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Withdrawal Policy

WITHDRAWAL FROM THE PROGRAM:  Applicants withdrawing from the program April 15, 2014 will not be refunded the $200 application fee/program deposit.

Applicants withdrawing from the program after this date will also be held accountable for any funds obligated to overseas vendors and agents on the applicant’s behalf.  This provision is in effect even if the applicant has not submitted the $200 deposit or additional payments, and if the applicant is applying for financial aid.

If the applicant must withdraw after April 15, 2014 for medical reasons, funds obligated on their behalf to overseas vendors can only be refunded if:

1)    The request is submitted to the Study Abroad Office in writing and accompanied by a signed statement stating that travel is not advised from a physician on the physician’s letterhead; and
2)    NIU is able to obtain refunds from overseas vendors and agents.  
CANCELLATION OF THE PROGRAM: The Study Abroad Office reserves the right to cancel this program if the minimum required enrollment is not attained.  If, prior to the commencement of the program, a U.S. State Department Travel Warning is issued for the U.K, all applicants will be notified promptly of the warning and the possibility of cancellation of the program.  If, during the course of the program, a U.S. State Department Travel Warning is issued for the U.K., students will be promptly notified of the warning and the advisability of canceling the program.

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Passport/Visa Information

All participants are expected to possess a passport in order to participate in this seminar. Important Note: U.S. passports must be valid SIX months beyond the intended stay overseas.

Individuals who do not currently posses a valid passport should apply for one immediately.
Information on acquiring a passport is available at the U.S. State Department’s Website: U.S. passport holders do not need special visas for this seminar. Foreign passport holders may need special visas for travel in England and are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas.

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Contact Information


Please contact the Study Abroad Office
Williston Hall 417
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: (815) 753-0700

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This program is currently not accepting applications.